Happy Pride Month! Poly in the GLBT world
The Bilerico Project claims to be the web's largest LGBTQ group blog. It features a cream-of-the-crop roster of invited contributors in GLBT leadership roles, "offering analysis and opinion on almost every aspect of LGBTQ politics and culture." The Washington Post called it a "must read" that is "rebooting the gay rights movement in a decentralized, spontaneous, bottom-up way."
A guest commentator (not one of the regulars) speaks up there for polyamory, still a contentious topic in parts of the gay community:
A Straightforward (But Complex) Loving Life
By Wintersong Tashlin
I have been sitting in front of my blank computer screen for a solid ten minutes now trying to figure out exactly how to begin this post. No matter how hard I reach for greater eloquence or depth, I keep coming back to a single sentence....
Being polyamorous is pretty damn awesome.
Now for the requisite disclaimers:
I am of course, only speaking for myself, from my own experience. I am not going to say that being poly is always awesome.... Nor am I going to say that polyamory is inherently better than monogamy...
I have a husband. I actually used to have two of them, and hopefully will someday again. What "husband" in this case means is that we live together and share just about every aspect of our lives. My husband Fire and I have been together for about twelve years now and intended to be in a multi-partner marriage from the very start. About two and half years after we got together we entered into a relationship with Evan, which lasted for just over eight years before he chose to divorce us. As the three of us before did, Fire and I share a house, bills, the care and feeding of an adorable dog, and other joys and duties found in traditionally "married" relationships. Even when there were three of us, it was remarkably "normal" by many of the yardsticks by which marriages are measured.
However, outside of our marriage, Fire and I have other intimate relationships that can take many forms. I have a boyfriend I am crazy about, although he lives far away. There are a number of people I care about and in some cases love deeply who I sometimes I play/have sex with. Right now there's also a relationship with another guy in my life that I'm letting evolve where it will....
If that sounds complicated, it is because it is. Whenever people tell me that I'm poly because it is "easier" than monogamy I have to laugh. Friends of mine who are in a four-person polyamorous marriage, and have a new baby, have to balance their schedules as carefully as generals plan amphibious invasions involving multiple chains of command. Ensuring that people don't end up feeling neglected or on the reverse, like they never have time to themselves, is a perpetual challenge in polyamory. Keeping lines of communication flowing between two people can be a task; doing it with a husband, a boyfriend or two, and several lovers can feel downright Sisyphean at times.
But then, at the same time it's damn awesome when things click together right.
A few weeks ago I attended my boyfriend's wedding. If this were a Hollywood film, that sentence would likely be filled with depressive angst about watching the man I love marry someone else.... What probably wouldn't leap to mind is me walking him proudly down the aisle and handing him off to his radiant bride while her father stood teary eyed beside her.
...My heart is directed outwards, not locked in a box that only one other person has the key to....
Polyamorous people, especially queer ones, are boogymen at the moment. Every time the anti-gay right brings us out as part of the "slippery slope" argument against same-sex-marriage, the representatives from Gay Inc are quick to take offense and clarify that we LGBTs are just as against that sort of thing as they are.... I have to say that I am growing tired of my family being demonized from both sides.... I think it is important for us to make our voices heard once in a while. Not to demand legal recognition or a place at the table, but simply to say "This is how we love, and you know what, it's pretty damn awesome. So maybe lay off a little."
Read the whole article (May 16, 2011).
Elsewhere in the gay world, Kiki Christie, a mover and shaker in the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, got a good say at the podium of a GLBT event in Vancouver. From Xtra/ Vancouver:
Over 400 attend anti-homophobia breakfast
A 400-plus crowd at an annual anti-homophobia breakfast gave a rousing ovation to a delegation of Burnaby students who are fighting to introduce a gay-friendly policy in their district's schools....
The day was also honoured at city hall with Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson declaring May 17, 2011, "International Day Against Homophobia" in Vancouver.
While the original theme of the breakfast was same-sex marriage, the event's organizers decided in the end to embrace a broader concept of queer relationships.
...Kiki Christie, founder of Victoria Poly 101, challenged the audience to reconsider the heteronormative ideas that dominate society's view of partnerships. She highlighted social networking site Facebook and its limited relationship option tags as a prime example of how "couple normative" ideas permeate society and limit the choices of those who might identify differently.
"As open relationships become increasingly public and politicized, we are in need of a new cultural relationship model that is distinct from monogamy [and] that still demonstrates the values of love, commitment, and security that are important to all of us," she added....
Read the whole article (May 17, 2011).
Update: Some more poly LGBT items:
Poly as a hip queer-female thing: "All the Cute Girls Have (Multiple) Girlfriends: Polyamory And Queer Women.
The recent book Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, by gay psychatrist Loren A. Olson, treats poly in a chapter on sex outside of a committed relationship.
At The New Gay: "I, Non-Monogamist".
A while back in Metro Weekly of Washington, DC: "Two For One: A magic number for some, "3" brings a world of challenges in a triad relationship".
Here are many of my past LGBT posts (including this one; scroll down).